Search This Blog

Monday, May 25, 2009

The next generation

The June/July 2009 Focus on the Family magazine contained an article entitled "The Baton of Faith." In it the author describes his father's strongest desire in his last few weeks of life to see the baton of faith passed to his children and grandchildren.

I remember when I was in high school and college. I had the opportunity to live at a boarding school for two years when in high school. From the beginning I had the opportunity to decide whether to continue with Bible reading, prayer, and church attendance. It was not easy getting to church, but from the beginning I did. During the summer between my two years I hitch-hiked through Europe alone for most of the time. My companion was a Gideon's Bible (I still have it). The Psalms especially were a comfort. By the time I returned home, my faith was mine. I never struggled with leaving it, just with how to best express it and where.

Soon my children will be adults, on their own. Will my faith and their mother's faith be theirs? What can I do to move them along in that direction?

I was talking with some young people about this last week, and I was struck by something I hadn't thought of. MY goal is to see them following Jesus Christ, but what if that isn't something important to them? How can I help persuade them that this is a goal worth following? Here are some thoughts:

  • Fire insurance. While this sounds crass, why else did Jesus warn people to repent and trust him?

  • Having a solid base to build one's life on. Jesus' parable of the builders on the rock and the sand comes to mind.

  • Being on the winning side in history.

  • Being with the creator and redeemer forever.

  • Being part of God's plan to redeem humanity and all of creation.

Do you have any others that I should add? Thoughts, comments?

So how do I and other parents encourage our children to follow after us? Obviously we need to live lives that back up what we say we believe. We should also challenge our children. (Check out this article and this one on ten lessons to learn from great Christian minds.)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Country 'Tis of Thee

Today is the day before Memorial Day. In church we sang the
Battle Hymn of the Republic and the hymn below. I love it.
But as a Christian, I can only sing it with the last verse.
I love my country, I love this land, but my allegiance
is to God.
My country,' tis of thee,
sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing;
land where my fathers died,
land of the pilgrims' pride,
from every mountainside let freedom ring!

I'm thankful to live in this land. I'm proud of
the accomplishments of my ancestors from the
landing of the Mayflower through their settlements
in this country. One of my ancestors was in
the Continental Congress and a general in the
Revolutionary War. Others fought in that war.
Three ancestors died because of the Civil War.
My native country, thee,
land of the noble free, thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
thy woods and templed hills;
my heart with rapture thrills, like that above.
I love to travel and would love to see more of Europe.
But there is much to love here. I've not seen
New England nor the South
Let music swell the breeze,
and ring from all the trees sweet freedom's song;
let mortal tongues awake;
let all that breathe partake;
let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong.

Our fathers' God, to thee,
author of liberty, to thee we sing;
long may our land be bright
with freedom's holy light;
protect us by thy might, great God, our King.
This last verse brought tears to my eyes this morning.
We sing of our land with love and allegiance.
But it is to God that we sing and give our allegiance.
Our freedoms come from the hand of our God, through
the sacrifices of many men and women. To all of
them I give my thanks.

But I worry. As we lose sight of the great God,
our King, will we also lose our liberty that
we have enjoyed for so long? Pray God no.
Pray to God that we remember him and that he
will give us many years of liberty so that our
sons and daughters may continue to enjoy the
freedoms that we enjoy.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Education thoughts

I'm a little short of original thoughts at the moment. End of the school year, and all that! Here are some interesting quotes about education I thought I would share with you.
"We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character--that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate." (--Martin Luther King, Jr.)
I teach in a school for the gifted - all the students are above average in intelligence. Unfortunately, not all of them have the self-discipline to use their abilities. Also, sometimes we see some of the students misuse their abilities - their characters are not good, in at least some of their decisions. They are children, so we understand that they are still growing and maturing. The goals for our students include becoming better people, as well as more skilled and knowledgeable. Simply making people more knowledgeable may lead to smarter bad people!

Howard Hendricks tells us,
“All true learning only occurs after you are thoroughly confused.”

I think this is a bit of an overstatement - a little confusion is probably all that is needed!! When you or I think that we know something, then there is little incentive to learn. On the other hand, if I know that I don't know something, or if I am uncertain as to details about the material, then I have more incentive to learn and to remember the material. When I teach my students I try to raise a healthy amount of confusion or uncertainty.

And lastly, a link to an interesting blog on giftedness and hard work. (Read it and then come back!!)
One of the amazing (and discouraging) things that I deal with is the idea that some my students (fortunately not all of them) have that learning must always be fun and interesting. If something isn't immediately interesting and easily learned, they lose interest in it. This especially tends to be a problem for gifted students, who on the plus side are often interested in learning for its own sake.

In the sports and music worlds we recognize that those who are good in those areas must work hard so that they can use their gifts to their fullest. Those who aren't naturally talented in those areas can still increase their abilities with hard work and practice. We must develop this same attitude in academics. Hard work and study from an average person will probably contribute more toward success in life and contributions toward society than laziness and lack of focus from a genius.

Success is 90% perspiration.